Gospel Inflation

A Christian minister asked a really interesting question on Twitter just now: he notes ‘that Jesus is portrayed as referring to God as Father roughly 170 times while the OT does only about 11’. What are we to make of this, he asks? I suggested a take on this question he may not have considered before. Geoff Holsclaw is a minister and seminary professor of theology in the US.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 16.58.30

Professor of New Testament studies, James D. G. Dunn, in his book The Evidence For Jesus gives a statistical table showing how the early church remembered only a very few occasions in which Jesus spoke of God as ‘Father’ (just 3 such utterances in Mark). Yet in the later gospels (especially Matthew and John) we can see a huge inflation and expansion of the number of such sayings.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 17.22.49

It is fair to conclude that we cannot take John’s reported testimony on this point as firm evidence of what Jesus actually said about himself. It represents a much later theological development.



Categories: Bible, Biblical scholarship, Christianity, History

11 replies

  1. Do you have a copy of Q somewhere?

    Like

    • do you understand what Q is according to scholars (hint: read the article above)?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know exactly what it is, but you seem not to. You claimed that there is material “not found” in Q – you must have a copy of Q to know what is not in it. Innit?

      Let’s take your reasoning a step further. Since the early, early christians might have feared being apostatized by their synagogues, we could just as easily argue that Mark may have withheld usage of the term “father” for that reason while later writers might have lived in a more secure environment in which more and more protected Roman citizens were converting and the need for caution in written documents was diminished.

      A more strongly developed oral tradition could easily have co-existed with the written materials.

      The other flaw in your reasoning is your claim that calling god the father was a late theological development – it occurs in the earliest sources. You wrote that above.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. pure speculation dude, and highly implausible in light of the Jewish Scriptures’s use of ‘father’ to refer to God:

    Jer 31:9; Isa 64:8; Isa 63:16; Deu 32:6; Jer 3:19; Mal 1:6.

    Btw you did not read my article very carefully: our earliest sources have Jesus say abba only 3 times, but John has Jesus use this term over 100 times. I never said the use of abba per se was late or unhistorical.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Btw you did not read my article very carefully: our earliest sources have Jesus say abba only 3 times, but John has Jesus use this term over 100 times. I never said the use of abba per se was late or unhistorical.”

      Sorry? Where did I cirticize you for that? You claimed it is a later theological development paul, and I pointed out how that is obtuse since you wrote yourself that jesus’ use of the word “father” is in the earliest sources.

      re-read my comment dude, you are putting words into my mouth that I never said.

      Like

  3. lol bobby boy you have been banned soo many times for being a troll. Its in your DNA.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Bobby, you sly snake! Hiding your true identity? That’s low dude, even for you. LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Q doesn’t exist, it’s a hypothetical source. Therefore, anything missing from Q would only be so hypothetically.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: